What Are Some Signs & Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome?

These symptoms occur due to central nervous system hyperactivity. Typical symptoms include:

 

  • Mental symptoms like confusion, irritability, mood swings, depression, nightmares and anxiety or agitation.
  • Physical symptoms like tremor and shakiness, headache, clammy skin, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, fast heart rate, sweating and pallor

 

More severe symptoms Include:

 

Hallucinations

 

Hallucinations can be visual, tactile or auditory. If present, these typically occur between 12 to 24 hours after your last drink.

 

Seizures

 

  • Seizures are usually generalized tonic-clonic, and if present, typically occur within 24 to 48 hours after your last drink.
  • Roughly 2 to 3% of people in alcohol withdrawal will experience a seizure. You are most likely to have a withdrawal seizure if you’ve previously had a withdrawal seizure.
  • Other significant risk factors for seizure include having had 3 or more significant periods of alcohol withdrawal, having drunk for 2 decades or longer, having a history of head injuries, being in poor health, being malnourished and presenting with an electrolyte imbalance.

 

Delirium Tremens

 

Severely altered mental functioning, extreme confusion, agitation characterize DTs, hallucinations and delusions, and usually occur within 24-72 hours after your last drink.

 

The Timeline

 

  • You can start experiencing alcohol withdrawal symptoms from 6 to 8 hours after your last drink, or in serious cases, whenever your blood alcohol level falls below a certain point.
  • For most people, symptoms will intensify to a peak at between 24 and 48 hours and then dissipate between 3 to 7 days from your last drink.
  • Though acute withdrawal symptoms dissipate within a week, protracted or subacute withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, irritability and cravings can persist for many weeks.